When your steering wheel is hard to turn, feels like your tires are flat, takes too much effort to turn, or your car just won’t turn in the direction you want, it probably means your power steering is out. Bring your car to AAMCO Minnesota for a complete ProtectCheck® diagnostic and we’ll pinpoint the problem and fix it. See our current specials and coupons.
Steering Is Nice to Have
Steering is key to driving your car. Power steering is nice to have because it allows you to steer without exerting a lot of effort – and who wants to exert effort for anything? Please hurry, self-driving cars!
This magic is done through a system of fluid pressure involving a pump and a piston. When you move the steering wheel, it causes fluid inside the pump to move to one side or the other (left or right), which causes a piston to move. The piston is attached to the steering gears, which cause the wheels to turn.
When the power steering fails, you find out if all that time at the gym has paid off – or if you need to make an upper body workout a regular part of your day. Better yet, it’s probably a good idea to know the signs of impending power steering failure, so you can get it fixed before you’re left stranded in the drive-through, unable to steer around the bend to the window to get your extra frosty frosted icy creamy treat and fries (gotta have the sweet with the savory).
Signs Your Power Steering Is About to Fail
Power Steering Fluid Level & Color
Check the power steering fluid level. If it’s low, there might be a leak. You can usually tell if there is a leak by leaving your car parked for a while. If you move it and there are splashes or small puddles or stains of reddish liquid, you’ve got a power steering fluid leak. Also pay attention to the color of the fluid. New fluid is red. Fluid that is not red, such as gray, indicates oxidation and the need for a change. Also look for bubbles, which indicates that air or moisture is in the power steering line.
Whining and Squealing
Any whining or squealing coming from your car is probably a bad sign of something. But when it happens specifically when you turn the steering wheel, it’s a good bet that your power steering is not happy. Squealing and whining when you turn the wheels of your car is usually a sign that the power steering pump is failing.
Wheels are Difficult to Turn
If the steering wheel is hard to turn, or your wheels feel like they’re flat, they either are flat or your power steering is failing. It’s probably a simple issue of the power steering fluid being low, but this could happen because there is a leak in the system. Another possible cause is the power steering belt is worn out. Replacement of power steering belts varies between cars. The power steering pump could be failing altogether, too. In any case, if it’s difficult to turn the wheels of your car it’s time to steer your car to your local AAMCO Minnesota.
Vibrating Steering Wheel
If your steering wheel vibrates or shakes while you’re idling, you might think that it couldn’t possibly be related to a problem in your steering system. You’re not moving, not turning, not using the steering… Must be something else. Believe it or not, that shaking steering wheel is trying to tell you that the power steering belt is damaged or loose and needs to be replaced or adjusted. Use what little steering you have left to guide your car to your nearest AAMCO Minnesota shop for help.
If Your Power Steering Goes Out While You’re Driving
Don’t panic. Get to the side of the road as quickly and safely as possible. Turn on your hazard lights. Don’t slam on your brakes or come to a complete stop. Slow down and guide your car as best you can. Momentum makes steering easier, but you don’t want to go too fast in this situation because you’ll need to work hard to turn at all, which means everything will be slower and take longer.
Bring your car to AAMCO for a complete diagnostic to make sure it’s running safely and smoothly, steering and all.
If you have questions about your car’s scheduled maintenance or any other car care and repair topics, AAMCO Minnesota can help.